Ukraine crisis drag Sensex 173 pts; ITC, Reliance gain

3:50 pm Auto sales: Auto giant Mahindra and Mahindra's (M&M) tractor arm continues to see steady growth. Its cumulative domestic sales grew 23 percent year-to-date (YTD) due to favorable monsoon and higher MSP.

Bharatendu Kapoor, senior vice president, sales, channel and customer care, farm division at M&M is very optimistic about continuation of tractor growth.

In an interview to CNBC-TV18 he said he expects good harvest to aid growth in tractors and he is looking at industry growth of 17 percent for FY14 in tractors business.

The company saw 18 percent growth in sales at 17,592 units in February this year versus 14,861 units in the same month last year. The domestic sales grew 19 percent to 16,552 units as against 13,944 a year ago. The exports also registered a 13 percent growth at 1,040 units, compared with 917 units in February 2013.

03:40 pm Market closing:
Ukraine crisis spooked Indian market too as the Sensex shed 173 points to close below the 21000-level. The Sensex ended at 20946.65. The Nifty slipped 55.50 points at 6221.45. Among the laggards were Dr Reddy's Labs, BHEL, Sun Pharma,, M&M and Cipla.

The top gainers in the Sensex were Reliance, Tata Steel, Hindalco, ITC and Coal India.

Ukraine's new PM has accused Russia of declaring war on the country. This is after Russia moved troops to three bases in Crimea on Sunday. The G7 has condemned Russia's intrusion into Ukraine and canceled preparations for the G8 summit that had been scheduled to take place in Sochi in June.

Meanwhile, Russia's central bank has raised interest rates from 5.5 percent to 7 percent, in an effort to stabilise its currency and offset inflation.

03:30 Outlook on pharma sector
Prakash Agarwal, Equity Analyst - India Pharma & Property, CIMB India says the Indian pharma sector is likely to sustain 15-20 percent growth in the days to come.

Speaking to CNBC-TV18, Agarwal says that the rupee fall, increase in investment in US and a steady Indian business growth will provide a good support to the sector.

"There were some aberrations in the Indian domestic market, but it is coming back. So, the sense is that given the investments that they have done in the US in terms ANDA filings, getting into niches, we still believe the growth momentum of 15-20 percent should be sustainable going forward," he said

03:20 pm Big deal
Engineering and construction giant Larsen & Toubro (L&T) has won a Rs 1,550 crore road project in Oman, the company said today.

"The Transportation Infrastructure Business of L&T has bagged  a prestigious international order worth Rs 1,550 crore from the Ministry of Transport and Communications, Sultanate of Oman, for the construction of a road between Bidbid-Sur Section," it said in a statement.

The scope of L&T's works involve widening of the existing 76 km two-lane road into three-lane dual carriageway, the construction of 10 arch type interchanges, 5 two-cell vehicular underpasses, 7 single-cell pedestrian underpasses and 15 kilometers of linked and service roads along the stretch, it said.

The project is scheduled to be completed in 38 months.

03:10 pm Buzzing: Shares of Natco Pharma hit a record high of Rs 876, up 4 percent intraday on Monday. The Hyderabad-based drug company got relief in drug dispute after Delhi High Court dismissed a suit filed by Israel-based Teva Pharma against Natco seeking an injunction over marketing of Copaxone in the US.

Natco commented, ''We are very pleased with the decision by the High Court to dismiss and take no action in this matter. ...We are also pursuing other challenges against this patent."

Copaxone is used to treat multiple sclerosis.

02:55pm Bajaj Auto talks to CNBC-TV18 post auto sales numbers
After months of declining sales, the worst in the auto industry may be over and negative growth may be tapering off, believes Rajiv Bajaj, Managing Director at Bajaj Auto.

In an interview with CNBC-TV18, the Bajaj scion said the auto market is finally seeing signs of bottoming out and that the company is looking to add to its 19 percent market share with new models such as its recently-launched next-generation Discover 125cc.

Total sales for Bajaj Auto fell 7 percent to 3.18 lakh vehicles in the month of February, data released on Saturday showed . But exports remained strong, rising 7 percent.

Bajaj is now sitting on ''near-normal four-five weeks'' of inventory, he said, adding that pile-up is not a concern for the company anymore.

The MD also touched upon the issue of the massive excise cut that finance minister P Chidambaram had carried out in the February interim budget and said he did not believe the duty cut would address the fundamental weakness in the market. ''Dealers have also not started passing on the excise duty benefits to customers yet.''

Bajaj also spoke about the recent turmoil in its export markets such as Egypt, where the previous government had banned imports soon before it fell. ''The troubles in Egypt have been offset by growth in markets such as Nigeria where three-wheeler exports grew from 2,000 units in July last year to 6,000 in February.''

The automaker foresees export growth to be in double digits in the near term, Bajaj said, indicating its recent troubles with exports are behind.

02:50pm Most active shares and gainers
BHEL, Asian Paints, Tata Elxsi, SBI, Tata Sponge, Infosys, ICICI Bank, HCL Technologies and Tata Motors are most active shares on exchanges.

Index heavyweights Reliance Industries and ITC bucked the trend, rising over 0.4 percent while HCL Technologies topped the selling list in the Nifty 50, falling 5 percent.

In the smallcap space, Jubilant Life is locked at 10 percent upper circuit in addition to 7 percent upmove in previous session after the announced successful resolution to FDA warning letter for montreal facility.

02:40pm TAQA talks to CNBC-TV18
Abu Dhabi-based TAQA told CNBC-TV18 that the company's capacity will increase to 1800 MW in India post Jaiprakash Power Ventures deal.

TAQA-led consortium on March 1 said it would buy 2 hydropower units from JP Power. TAQA said it would complete JP transaction later this year.

"We are looking forward to expanding in Indian energy sector and want to invest in renewables & coal assets in India," TAQA added.

02:30pm FII View on Ukraine
Rob Aspin of StandChart Bank is hopeful that leaders of both the West (US) and Europe will be able to negotiate and find a resolution for the Ukraine problems .

The house at present is underweight emerging market equities and Asian equities, and would rather focus more on US and European market at this juncture says Aspin.

However, with respect to India, he does see opportunities in the spaces like technology, healthcare and industrials although technology seems a bit richly valued at present. Among the financials they prefer the private banks over the public sector banks, says Aspin.

Answering a query on whether there could be outflows from emerging markets because the current geo political tensions, he said it depends on how the Ukrainian situations works out but if a resolution is found then the flows may return to European markets but they would take bit more time to return into Russia.

With regards to commodities like gold and crude rallying on back of the geo-political tensions, Aspin feels that it could be so because gold is a hedge for these tensions. He thinks if the tensions aggravate then it could provide support to gold prices but in case resolution is found then the prices could go back to normal.

02:20pm AstraZeneca Pharma locked at 20% upper circuit
Shares of AstraZeneca Pharma are locked at 20 percent upper circuit after the board members said it would consider parent's delisting offer on March 5.

"The board of directors of the company has, on March 01, received a letter from promoter AstraZeneca Pharmaceuticals AB (AZP AB) Sweden, proposing to make a voluntary delisting offer to the public shareholders of the company. The offer is with a view to delist the equity shares of the company from BSE, National Stock Exchange of India and Bangalore Stock Exchange," the company said in its filing.

AZP AB holds 1,87,50,000 equity shares representing 75 percent of the total paid-up share capital of AstraZeneca Pharma.

After this letter, a meeting of the board of the company has been scheduled on March 05, 2014 to consider the delisting proposal and matters incidental hereto.

AZP AB in its letter said, "We have requested the board of the company to convene a meeting of the board to consider and approve the delisting proposal, and take requisite steps to obtain the prior approval of the shareholders to the delisting proposal by a special resolution passed through postal ballot as per the delisting regulations."

02:10pm Ukraine impact on global markets
Geopolitical tensions surrounding Ukraine weighed heavily on global markets. Key Asian indices ended lower except in China that gained 0.9 percent while Nikkei and Hang Seng fell 1-1.5 percent. European markets lost more than 2 percent.

Ukraine's new PM Arseniy Yatseniuk has accused Russia of declaring war on the country. This after Russia moved troops to three bases in Crimea on Sunday. Russia's central bank has raised interest rates from 5.5 percent to 7 percent, in an effort to stabilise its currency and offset inflation.

However, gold jumped to USD 1340 an ounce while crude prices rose as well due to the geopolitical premium.

Rupee declined 14 paise, tracking weakness in the Russian rubble and other global currencies. Gilts fell due to lack of buying support from state owned banks and subdued risk appetite due to tensions in Ukraine.

02:00pm The market fell nearly a percent in afternoon trade with the Sensex breaking the 21000 level weighed down by capital goods, healthcare, technology and bank stocks. The fall in global markets caused the selling pressure, tracking Ukraine crisis.

The Sensex declined 169.34 points to 20950.78 and the Nifty slipped 56.95 points to 6220. About 1111 shares have advanced, 1390 shares declined, and 131 shares are unchanged.

Healthcare stocks cracked further on profit booking. Sun Pharma and Dr Reddy's Labs plunged 2.5 percent each followed by Cipla with a 1.8 percent fall.

BHEL crashed 3 percent. CNBC-TV18 reports quoting government sources that Life Insurance Corporation of India (LIC) purchased government's 4.66 percent stake in the company at Rs 167.20 apiece through block deal in morning.

It is learnt that the government, which was holding 67.72 percent stake in the company as of December, raised Rs 1,889 crore through block deal with LIC.

2:00 Should Sebi intervene?Just as the dust was beginning to settle on the Fresenius Kabi delisting controversy, another MNC's action has reignited the debate on whether the delisting guidelines are being gamed by promoters looking for a cheap exit.

AstraZeneca Pharma today said that its board would be meeting on Wednesday to consider a proposal to delist the company. The foreign parent holds 75 percent in the company, having reduced stake from 90 percent in May last year through an offer for sale (OFS) to institutional investors at Rs 620 per share. AstraZeneca had taken the OFS route to comply with the Sebi rule mandating listed companies to maintain minimum 25 percent public shareholding.

To delist, the foreign parent now needs to buy an additional 15 percent from investors. Under current rules, promoters with less than 90 percent stake looking to delist, have to make an offer for minimum 50 percent of the outstanding equity and take their stake to 90 percent. For promoters holding 90 percent and above, the offer has to be for a minimum of 50 percent of the outstanding equity.

1:50 pm Gold check: The government has started to make physical checks of gold stocks held by wholesalers to ensure inventories match the amount imported by banks and state-run traders, an industry association said, as the country steps up efforts to halt smuggling, reports Reuters.

The move could aggravate shortages in the physical market as authorities seize gold without a valid provenance, boosting premiums, which rallied to a record of USD!60 an ounce on London prices late last year.

"Government agencies are raiding and seizing gold at various places and asking to reconcile the (gold bar) number with the imported gold," said India Bullion and Jewellers Association (IBJA) general secretary Surendra Mehta.

1:40 pm Auto sales: Pune-based auto maker Bajaj Auto today reported a 7% decline in motorcycle sales at 2,81,390 units in January 2014. The company had sold 3,01,361 bikes in January 2013, Bajaj Auto Limited said in a release here. The overall domestic sales including commercial vehicles also fell by 8 per cent during January 2014, it said. Bajaj Auto sold 3,18,177 vehicles in the reporting month as against 3,47,624 units sold a year ago, the company said.

1:30 pm Buzzing: Shares of HT Media surged 7 percent intraday on Monday as maverick investor Rakesh Jhunjhunwala bought some shares in the company. Rakesh Jhunjhunwala's firm Rare Enterprises purchased 15 lakh shares of the media company for about Rs 11 crore through open market route.

As per BSE data, Rare Enterprises purchased the company's shares at an average price of Rs 71.25 apiece, valuing the transaction at Rs 10.69 crore.

The market is extending losses following weak global cues due to political uncertainty in Ukraine. The Nifty has slipped below the 6250 level. The Nifty is down 36.25 points at 6240.70 and the Sensex is down 104.28 points at 21015.84. About 1169 shares have advanced, 1216 shares declined, and 118 shares are unchanged.

ITC, Reliance, Hindalco, GAIL and Tata Power are top gainers in the Sensex. Among the losers are Dr Reddy's Labs, BHEL, Cipla, Sun Pharma and Tata Motors.

Ukraine's new PM has accused Russia of declaring war on the country. This is after Russia moved troops to three bases in Crimea on Sunday. The G7 has condemned Russia's intrusion into Ukraine and canceled preparations for the G8 summit that had been scheduled to take place in Sochi in June.

Meanwhile, Russia's central bank has raised interest rates from 5.5 percent to 7 percent, in an effort to stabilise its currency and offset inflation.

Asian markets see flight to safety on brewing instability in Ukraine. The Nikkei was down over a percent.

In other asset classes, crude jumped over 1 percent, to multi-month highs, lifted by rising tension in Ukraine, Nymex rises to USD 104 per barrel. Gold too jumped more than a percent.
12:55pm Tech Mahindra in focus, hits 7-year high of Rs 1920

Vineet Nayyar, vice chairman of  Tech Mahindra says the IT major is nowhere close to any agreements with Financial Technologies . CNBC-TV18 had learnt from sources that Tech Mahindra officials met Financial Technologies' restructuring committee.

Sources say that the Tech Mahindra might be looking at aquiring promoter's stake in FT. However, Nayyar refused to comment on the matter saying ''it would be too premature to speculate about FT.''

Analysts say if Tech Mahindra does acquire FT, it could be perceived negatively for the former as they foresee very little to no synergies with FT business.

12:50pm Bajaj Auto talks to CNBC-TV18 post February sales numbers
After months of declining sales, the worst in the auto industry may be over and negative growth may be tapering off, believes Rajiv Bajaj, Managing Director at Bajaj Auto.

In an interview with CNBC-TV18, the Bajaj scion said the auto market is finally seeing signs of bottoming out and that the company is looking to add to its 19 percent market share with new models such as its recently-launched next-generation Discover 125cc.

Total sales for Bajaj Auto fell 7 percent to 3.18 lakh vehicles in the month of February, data released on Saturday showed . But exports remained strong, rising 7 percent.

Bajaj is now sitting on ''near-normal four-five weeks'' of inventory, he said, adding that pile-up is not a concern for the company anymore.

The MD also touched upon the issue of the massive excise cut that finance minister P Chidambaram had carried out in the February interim budget and said he did not believe the duty cut would address the fundamental weakness in the market. ''Dealers have also not started passing on the excise duty benefits to customers yet.''

Bajaj also spoke about the recent turmoil in its export markets such as Egypt, where the previous government had banned imports soon before it fell. ''The troubles in Egypt have been offset by growth in markets such as Nigeria where three-wheeler exports grew from 2,000 units in July last year to 6,000 in February.''

The automaker foresees export growth to be in double digits in the near term, Bajaj said, indicating its recent troubles with exports are behind.

12:40pm FII on Ukraine impact
The ongoing Ukraine crisis and the geopolitical tensions in the region will have far reaching effects. Richard Gibbs, Global Head, Macquarie Securities believes risk aversion will be elevated because of weak growth in China and tensions in Crimea, a strategic peninsula going into the Black Sea and Russia's only access to all weather port.

Crimea was gifted to Ukraine by a Soviet leader about 60 years ago, but tensions simmered in the region when pro-Russia leader Viktor Yanukovych was ousted on February 21.

Gibbs however says India need not worry too much as it is well supported by domestic demand. According to him, investors should use every dip to buy into markets like India. He says the country could see opportunistic buying.

12:30pm Jaiprakash Power tanks 14%
Jaiprakash Power Ventures is reeling under pressure on Monday as investors are worried about valuation of the deal in which the company decided to sell two hydropower units to Abu Dhabi-based TAQA-led consortium. The stock lost 14 percent while it had surged 12 percent on Friday ahead of board meeting that took place on Saturday.

JP Power said it would sell 1400 MW hydro projects (300 MW hydroelectric plant and 1091 MW Karcham Wangtoo hydroelectric plant) to consortium led by TAQA India Power Ventures, INDO-INFRA Inc (Canadian investor), IDFC Alternatives' India Infrastructure Fund-II. According to CNBC-TV18 reports, these companies are going to own 51 percent, 39 percent and 10 percent in the project, respectively.

TAQA India Power Ventures is an indirectly owned and controlled subsidiary of Abu Dhabi National Energy Company PJSC.

These units have an enterprise value of Rs 10,500 crore including Rs 6,500 crore debt and JP Power will get around Rs 4,000 crore cash from deal.

TAQA said the company would spend about USD 616 million on acquiring JP Power plants. "Enterprise value of JP Power plants it's buying, including debt, is about USD 1.6 billion," TAQA added.

Meanwhile, JP Morgan has downgraded the stock to neutral and reduced price target to Rs 19 apiece from Rs 25 apiece, citing risk-return trade off is no longer attractive.

12:20pm Radico Khaitan gains ground
Shares of liquor manufacturer Radico Khaitan rallied 2 percent as CNBC-TV18 reports quoting sources that Japan's Suntory is close to buying stake in the company's Indian Made Foreign Liquor (IMFL) business.

It is learnt that Suntory will buy 26 percent stake in IMFL business, which contributes 70 percent to Radico's revenue, for Rs 900 crore.

Radico had received board approval to hive off IMFL business into a separate subsidiary in October. Radico, which has a debt of Rs 750 crore, will use funds to deleverage business.

Suntory has an alliance with Radico for the distribution of its premium whiskies, Hibiki blended whisky and Yamazaki single malt.

However, Suntory and Radico did not respond to CNBC-TV18's query.

12:10pm Market Expert
There was a bit of a dip in the market in early February and now it is almost close to an all-time high. Dhananjay Sinha, head - institutional research, Emkay Global Financial Services says the Modi trade is playing out in the near term, which effectively means the market is pricing in an NDA-led government ahead of the event. The expectation is if it is an NDA-led government that comes to power then there will be more pro-active investments and growth-oriented policies, he adds.

Sinha says some of the conventional defensives like IT, pharma and some of the auto names are making 52-week high, which is supporting the market. ''That is how the internals and broader sentiments look like at this juncture,'' he adds.

12:00pm Equity benchmarks extended losses in noon trade after Russian Central Bank increased interest rates to 7 percent from 5.5 percent effective immediately. Russian market lost over 10 percent and its currency rubble dropped 1 percent against dollar.

The Sensex fell 100.26 points to 21019.86 and the Nifty declined 34.35 points to 6242.60 but advancing shares outnumbered declining ones by a ratio of 1249 to 1049 on the BSE.

Dr Reddy's Labs and Sun Pharma plunged over 1.5 percent on profit booking. Both stocks saw huge buying interest last week.

Software services providers TCS and Wipro declined over a percent while rival Infosys dipped 0.6 percent.

Engineering and construction major Larsen & Toubro slipped over a percent. The transportation infrastructure business of L&T has bagged an international order worth Rs 1550 crore from the Ministry of Transport and Communications, Sultanate of Oman, for the construction of a road between Bidbid-Sur section (Second Phase, First Part).

BHEL, which gained 11 percent last week, fell 1.44 percent. Sources said LIC bought government's 4.66 percent stake in BHEL via block deal. The government raised Rs 1,889 crore via this block deal, sources added.

India's largest private sector lender ICICI Bank lost 0.8 percent while rivals State Bank of India and HDFC Bank gained 0.6 percent and 0.2 percent, respectively.

Index heavyweights Reliance Industries and ITC continued to support the market with more than 0.4 percent gains.

11:50 am Market outlook: Saurabh Mukherjea, CEO, Institutional Equities, Ambit Capital is still advising his clients to sell Maruti because of the uncertainty over the terms of transfer of the Gujarat car making plant to a Suzuki subsidiary. Also, he said this move by Maruti could set a precedent with other MNCs too adopting a similar structure to get around the curbs on royalty payments from April 1 onwards.

He is bullish on L&T and Cummins India and not very enthused about power utilities, calling it a ''difficult trade'' for fund managers to make money on.

11:40 am Deal talk: The Supreme Court is due to hear on Monday Nokia's appeal challenging a lower court ruling over transfer of its mobile handset plant in the country to Microsoft amid a tax dispute, reports Reuters.

Nokia last month appealed to the Indian Supreme Court saying the Delhi High Court had imposed "new conditions" over transfer of the plant, after previously allowing it.

The Supreme Court's website showed Nokia's appeal was listed to be heard on Monday. The court does not usually give a verdict on the first day of hearing.

Microsoft is buying Nokia's mobile phone business in a 5.4 billion euro deal.

11:30 am Udayan Mukherjee's comments: A pre-election rally is a given unless global cues don't play spoilsports, says CNBC-TV18's Udayan Mukherjee. Currently, he says, there are two-three things that seem to be negative like the US GDP number, the disappointing China PMI numbers and the political turmoil in Ukraine, says Udayan.

However, it does look like tresumption of the uptrend is likely to continue since the Nifty has taken support at the 200 day moving average (DMA), feels Udayan.

According to him the Nifty could well be on course back to 6400 levels, where it had started its correction from.

11:20 am Buzzing: Jaiprakash Power Ventures is reeling under pressure as investors are worried about valuation of the deal in which the company decided to sell two hydropower units to Abu Dhabi-based TAQA-led consortium. The stock lost as much as 13.7 percent intraday while it had surged 12 percent on Friday ahead of board meeting that took place on Saturday.

JP Power said it would sell 1400 MW hydro projects (300 MW hydroelectric plant and 1091 MW Karcham Wangtoo hydroelectric plant) to consortium led by TAQA India Power Ventures, INDO-INFRA Inc (Canadian investor), IDFC Alternatives' India Infrastructure Fund-II. According to CNBC-TV18 reports, these companies are going to own 51 percent, 39 percent and 10 percent in the project, respectively.

TAQA India Power Ventures is an indirectly owned and controlled subsidiary of Abu Dhabi National Energy Company PJSC.

The market is listless with no major trigger. The Sensex is up 11.66 points at 21131.78, and the Nifty is down 2.60 points at 6274.35. About 1256 shares have advanced, 851 shares declined, and 110 shares are unchanged.

The rupee is lower tracking weakness in Asian currencies. Weak October-December GDP data as well as importers' dollar demands weighs further. Currencies saw safe haven buying in the Swiss Franc and the yen due to escalating tensions between Ukraine and Russia.

Gilts though are steady in the absence of fresh cues on interest rates.

Gold saw safe haven buying with a jump of more than 1 percent while crude jumped to multi month highs on escalating geopolitical tensions.

Asian markets are weak as tensions between Ukraine and Russia dominates sentiment. Chinese PMI also dampened trade as it fell to an eight-month low of 50.2 in February.

10:59am Radico Khaitan up 2%
Japan's Suntory is close to buying stake in Radico Khaitan's Indian Made Foreign Liquor (IMFL) business, reports CNBC-TV18 quoting sources.

It is learnt that Suntory will buy 26 percent stake in IMFL business, which contributes 70 percent to Radico's revenue, for Rs 900 crore.

Radico had received board approval to hive off IMFL business in October. Radico, which has a debt of Rs 750 crore, will use funds to deleverage business.

However, Suntory and Radico have not responded to CNBC-TV18's query.

10:50am L&T slips on profit booking despite order win
The Transportation Infrastructure Business of L&T has bagged an international order worth Rs 1550 crore from the Ministry of Transport and Communications, Sultanate of Oman, for the construction of a road between Bidbid-Sur section (second phase, first part).

L&T lost 1.5 percent to Rs 1092 on the Bombay Stock Exchange.

10:40am JP Power under pressure
Jaiprakash Power Ventures is reeling under pressure despite the company decided to sell two hydropower units to Abu Dhabi-based TAQA-led consortium.

The stock lost as much as 13.7 percent intraday that may be because of profit booking and downgrade by JP Morgan. It surged 12 percent on Friday ahead of board meeting that took place on Saturday.

JP Power said it would sell 1400 MW hydro projects (300 MW hydroelectric plant and 1091 MW Karcham Wangtoo hydroelectric plant) to consortium led by TAQA India Power Ventures, INDO-INFRA Inc (Canadian investor), IDFC Alternatives' India Infrastructure Fund-II. According to CNBC-TV18 reports, these companies are going to own 51 percent, 39 percent and 10 percent in the project, respectively.

TAQA India Power Ventures is an indirectly owned and controlled subsidiary of Abu Dhabi National Energy Company PJSC.

These units have an enterprise value of Rs 10,500 crore including Rs 6,500 crore debt and JP Power will get around Rs 4,000 crore cash from deal.

TAQA said the company would spend about USD 616 million on acquiring JP Power plants. "Enterprise value of JP Power plants it's buying, including debt, is about USD 1.6 billion," TAQA added.

Meanwhile, JP Morgan has downgraded the stock to neutral and reduced price target to Rs 19 apiece from Rs 25 apiece, citing risk-return trade off is no longer attractive.

10:30am AstraZeneca Pharma on buyers' radar
Shares of AstraZeneca Pharma are locked at 20 percent upper circuit after the board members said it would consider parent's delisting offer on March 5.

"The board of directors of the company has, on March 01, received a letter from promoter AstraZeneca Pharmaceuticals AB (AZP AB) Sweden, proposing to make a voluntary delisting offer to the public shareholders of the company. The offer is with a view to delist the equity shares of the company from BSE, National Stock Exchange of India and Bangalore Stock Exchange," the company said in its filing.

AZP AB holds 1,87,50,000 equity shares representing 75 percent of the total paid-up share capital of AstraZeneca Pharma.

After this letter, a meeting of the board of the company has been scheduled on March 05, 2014 to consider the delisting proposal and matters incidental hereto.

AZP AB in its letter said, "We have requested the board of the company to convene a meeting of the board to consider and approve the delisting proposal, and take requisite steps to obtain the prior approval of the shareholders to the delisting proposal by a special resolution passed through postal ballot as per the delisting regulations."

Meanwhile, AstraZeneca Pharma had reported a profit of Rs 1.52 crore during October-December quarter as against loss of Rs 17.7 crore in a year-ago period. Net sales from operations during the same period increased to Rs 118.9 crore from Rs 105 crore.

10:20am Maruti speaks to CNBC-TV18
Ever since Maruti Suzuki (MSIL) announced its much-touted Gujarat facility would henceforth be a 100 percent subsidiary of its parent Suzuki Motor Corporation, it sent a lot of jitters across the investors' belt. Many of them, in fact, went to the extent of saying that move does not follow the principles of corporate governance.

Explaining and clarifying what the deal means and why it is really good for shareholders across the board, the company's chairman RC Bhargava said that though some investors are not convinced about the explanation, but not all investors are unhappy with the arrangement.

He said though LIC has not expressed concerns, but they have sought an explanation. ''The company will shortly explain LIC why the deal is good for everybody,'' he said.

In an exclusive interview to CNBC-TV18, Bhargava said the arrangement will add about Rs 1,500 crore to Maruti Suzuki's bottomline.

He said that discussions are going on the royalty rates, adding that Maruti also expects royalty rates to come down since more products are being engineered by MSIL and going forward the individual model's royalty rates will be modified.

Bhargava said that parent Suzuki has no plans to sell the Gujarat assets to Maruti in future and the clause was added only to allay investor concern. He further added that Maruti will clarify to the Securities and Exchange Board of India (Sebi), if the regulator raises concerns.

10:10am Gainers
Top lender State Bank of India and aluminium major Hindalco Industries gained more than a percent.

Shares of ITC, HDFC, HDFC Bank, Sun Pharma, Infosys, Axis Bank, Tata Steel and Bharti Airtel rose 0.2-0.7 percent.

Maruti Suzuki rebounded with 0.5 percent upmove on short covering.

10:00am The market is directionless on Monday despite Ukraine mobilised for war after Russia's President Vladimir Putin declared he had the right to invade the neighboring country.

The Sensex is down 5.10 points to 21115.02 after seeing more than 400 points rally last week. The Nifty declined 5 points to 6,271.95. About 936 shares have advanced, 642 shares declined, and 73 shares are unchanged.

Engineering and construction major Larsen & Toubro lost 1.7 percent on profit booking. Dr Reddy's Labs too sees profit taking as the stock fell 1.4 percent after rising 6 percent last week.

Tata Motors, ONGC and Sesa Sterlite declined over a percent.

Bajaj Auto slipped over a percent too as its total sales in February fell 6 percent year-on-year (down 1.6 percent month-on-month) to 3.13 lakh units.

Jaiprakash Power Ventures plunged 9 percent on profit booking despite the board decided to sell two hydropower projects for Rs 4,000 crore to TAQA-led consortium.

JP Morgan has downgraded the stock to neutral and reduced price target to Rs 19 apiece from Rs 25 apiece, citing risk-return trade off is no longer attractive.

10:00 am Interview:Vineet Nayyar, vice chairman of Tech Mahindra says the IT major is nowhere close to any agreement with Financial Technologies. CNBC-TV18 had learnt from sources that Tech Mahindra officials met Financial Technologies' restructuring committee.

Sources say that the Tech Mahindra might be looking at aquiring promoter's stake in FT. However, Nayyar refused to comment on the matter saying ''it would be too premature to speculate about FT.''

Analysts say if Tech Mahindra does acquire FT, it could be perceived negatively for the former as they foresee very little to no synergies with FT business.

9:50 am FII view: Michael Kurtz, Nomura says the weekend's developments have broadened the scope for markets to price in the tail-risk of dramatic escalation. "It seems sensible to seek protection in risk-off markets. In the case of EM equities, even these effects may be mitigated by the fact that EM equities had already suffered record outflows over the past 12 months. EMs enter this episode already in a technical position of substantial under-ownership," he said.

Sanaya Tavaria, JP Morgan Chase says, "Our confidence in EM equities continues to build. Tapering concerns are overdone. Fundamentals in the Asian members of the fragile five have improved. Export PMIs in Taiwan and Korea are signaling strengthening demand in developed markets. Our preferred trade remains exposure to accelerating global growth."

9:40 am Ukraine impact:The ongoing Ukraine crisis and the geopolitical tensions in the region will have far reaching effects. Richard Gibbs, Global Head, Macquarie Securities believes risk aversion will be elevated because of weak growth in China and tensions in Crimea, a strategic peninsula going into the Black Sea and Russia's only access to all weather port.

Crimea was gifted to Ukraine by a Soviet leader about 60 years ago, but tensions simmered in the region when pro-Russia leader Viktor Yanukovych was ousted on February 21. Gibbs however says India need not worry too much as it is well supported by domestic demand. According to him, investors should use every dip to buy into markets like India. He says the country could see opportunistic buying.

9:30 am Buzzing: Shares of AstraZeneca Pharma are locked at 20 percent upper circuit on Monday after the board members said it would consider parent's delisting offer on March 5.

"The board of directors of the company has, on March 01, received a letter from promoter AstraZeneca Pharmaceuticals AB (AZP AB) Sweden, proposing to make a voluntary delisting offer to the public shareholders of the company. The offer is with a view to delist the equity shares of the company from BSE, National Stock Exchange of India and Bangalore Stock Exchange," the company said in its filing.

AZP AB holds 75 percent of the total paid-up share capital of AstraZeneca Pharma.

The market has opened slightly lower but Nifty is above the 6200. The Nifty is down 11.90 points at 6265.05 and the Sensex is down 43.98 points at 21076.14. About 264 shares have advanced, 166 shares declined, and 29 shares are unchanged.

Sun Pharma, BHEL, Bharti Airtel, Maruti and Infosys are early gainers in the Sensex. Tata group stocks like Tata Motors, Tata Power, TCS are laggards while othe losers in the Sensex include Sesa Sterlite, Dr Reddy's and L&T.

The Indian rupee slipped in the early trade today. It has opened lower by 18 paise at 61.94 per dollar versus 61.76 Friday.

The Japanese yen rose across the board this morning, while investors gave risk currencies such as the Australian dollar a wide berth as Ukraine mobilised for war after Russia's President Vladimir Putin declared he had the right to invade the neighboring country.

Agam Gupta of Standard Chartered said, "Expect rupee in a range of 61.75-62.15/USD for the day."

"Exporters will look to sell on upticks while the nationalised bank demand will protect the downside for the pair," he added.

Ukraine crisis will impact crude as Russia is the world's biggest oil producer. Crude oil prices rallied over the rising tension after Russian president Vladimir Putin declared he had the right to invade his neighbour.

Meanwhile, Gold has gained more than 1 percent on on escalating geopolitical tensions. Bullion gained nearly 7 percent in February, the biggest monthly rise since July.